Last Updated on September 30, 2021 by Maggie McKneely
Looking for Shenandoah Valley lodging? For a fun-filled Virginia getaway, check out Massanutten Resort!
Staying at Massanutten Resort
My family and I have been visiting the Shenandoah Valley for, well…. since before I could actually remember anything about life. Since it’s only a few hours from home in Fredericksburg, it’s just far enough away to not be a staycation, but close enough for a perfect weekend getaway. It’s an oasis of Virginia country charm, with its rolling hills, sprawling apple orchards and horse farms, and, of course, the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains.
But after all these years, we’ve never stayed at Massanutten Resort. Massanutten has been welcoming guests to its corner of the Shenandoah Valley for over 50 years, but because Massanutten is best known for being a ski resort, I was never one of those guests. No one in my family likes skiing, so why would we stay there?
Wow, was I wrong! After a recent four-day stay, I can confidently say that Massanutten Resort is so much more than skiing! It’s a mountain retreat from the hustle and bustle of regular life, perfect for both adventurers and relaxers, regardless of the season. It may have taken us a long time to get there, but I know we will be returning soon to Massanutten.
History of Massanutten Resort
Massanutten Mountain has been luring tourists away from their regular routines for generations. Before it was a haven for skiers, Massanutten catered to those looking for some rest and relaxation. Rockingham Springs, the mountain’s first resort, opened its doors in 1875 as a wellness retreat. Its founder, Gerard Hopkins, advertised it as a restorative getaway for city-dwellers trapped in otherwise dirty, cramped, and disease-ridden conditions. He claimed that by bathing in one of the five natural springs found at the base of the mountain, a person could be healed of a number of ailments, including malaria, asthma, rheumatism, gout, diarrhea, and chronic skin conditions.
Well over a century later, Massanutten is still a place for those seeking relief in the mountains surrounding Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Rockingham Springs closed its doors in 1915 as the United States economy began to decline, and later generations of the Hopkins family used the land to graze cattle instead of courting out-of-towners. But Gerard’s great-grandson, dissatisfied with farming, eventually brought the resort back to life in the 1970s, just under a new name.
John Hopkins opened Massanutten Resort in 1973, primarily as a ski retreat. Today, the resort has over 6,000 acres of mountain property and an enormous slew of activities to do besides skiing.
Massanutten Resort is conveniently located about 2 hours from Washington DC and Dulles International Airport. Alternatively, you can also fly into the smaller Shenandoah Valley Airport, just 15 miles from Massanutten. You will want to have a car, as the resort is almost 6,000 acres and does not have a shuttle service.
Regal Vistas: Our Own Home at Massanutten Resort
We had absolutely no idea what to expect from our lodging at Massanutten. We had gotten a pre-check-in email reminding us that Massanutten doesn’t have housekeeping services, so my mom thought this meant we’d probably be camping. But when we pulled up to our fabulous weekend home, we realized we wouldn’t need the three extra rolls of toilet paper packed in her suitcase.
Massanutten has a plethora of different lodging options, suited to every budget and space need. We stayed in Regal Vistas, which is the resort’s newest development of condos. The gated community has its own workout facility, swimming pool, and picnic area, and has incredible views of the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge.
When we pulled up to our home-away-from-home, we were absolutely blown away. Because that’s what it was – a home, complete with our own car garage and landscaped front yard.
Inside, we had our own fully stocked kitchen, with wine glasses, plates, bowls, and any type of cookware we could possibly want. The beautiful living room had high ceilings and an electric fireplace (which we were so glad we had on those chilly fall evenings!). There was even a grill on the back porch had we decided to do some grilling over the weekend.
Our condo had two bedrooms, each with their own queen bedroom and separate bathroom – which meant my mom and I could each have own space. And in the master bathroom, a bathtub jacuzzi. Yeah, this place was definitely going to work for us!
Have you ever had a pedicure while sipping on a complimentary glass of wine? Once you do, you may never be able to go back to just a regular ‘ole wine-less pedicure. Every guest that walks through the doors of the Spa at Massanutten gets their choice of wine (or tea or lemon-water for the non-wine drinkers). And like everywhere else at the resort, the Spa has expansive views of the beautiful Virginia countryside. Our afternoon here was basically heaven.
Fitness and Rec Center
The Massanutten Fitness and Rec Club is basically a one-stop-shop for all of your fitness needs. Their weight room was recently renovated and includes up-to-date equipment (which, as someone who tries to stay somewhat active on vacation, I appreciate – it’s so much nicer than those tiny gyms most hotels have!).
There’s also an indoor heated pool, racquetball and basketball courts, sand volleyball, and a fitness classroom. We loved getting to start one morning with a BodyFlow yoga class!
Thank goodness for that excellent gym, because Massanutten is not the place to go if you’re on a diet. We made use of our kitchen and fixed our own breakfast in our condo, but for lunch and dinner, we took advantage of the resort’s many amazing dining options.
Base Camp is the place to go if you want to hang out next to a fire with a glass of red wine at the end of an action-packed day exploring the Shenandoah Valley. Which is exactly what we did. Located at the bottom of the ski runs, Base Camp is on an outdoor patio, complete with fire pits surrounded by luxurious couches and a heated bar area. But if that doesn’t sound wonderful enough, throw in a perfectly cooked slab of smoked prime rib and homemade snickerdoodle ice cream. Absolute heaven.
Campfire Grill is all about celebrating the great outdoors, with menu staples that are hearty and comforting. We devoured a deliciously warming bowl of chili served with a side of honey smoked cornbread. For dessert, my mom got an apple dumpling topped with classic vanilla ice cream. Always a sucker for s’mores, I couldn’t pass up the S’mores skillet – marshmallows, chocolate, and a cookie base served in a mini iron skillet!
We didn’t have time to try out all of the dining options, so here’s a list of the ones we missed (but still sound amazing!):
Virginia BBQ & Pizza Co.: What’s a visit to anywhere in the south without some BBQ, after all?
Sweetz: Massanutten Resort’s main stop for fudge, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and specialty coffee
Hideaway Lounge: Located inside the Waterpark, this is a full-service bar that also has a menu of bar snacks and burgers
Dining Events: Massanutten also offers several different dining events, such as wine-tastings, cooking classes, and specialty dinners! We attended Dinner with Chef & Paul, a 4-course meal with curated drink pairings hosted by the resort’s Executive Chef. It was an amazing opportunity to not only eat even MORE good food, but to meet the brains behind all of the incredible menus at Massanutten.
Massanutten Resort Activities
Massanutten Resort is well-known for being a premier ski area (partly because they’ve mastered the art of creating their own snow – this is Virginia after all, and our winters are unreliable!) But Massanutten truly is a four-season resort, with a wide variety of activities all year long.
October is an amazing time of year to visit the Shenandoah Valley because it’s peak leaf-viewing season. And all of the Massanutten Resort activites offer plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this.
For example: even though there’s no snow on the ground, you can take a scenic ski chairlift ride to the top of the mountain! As someone who doesn’t enjoy skiing, this was so much more relaxing without worrying about how to get off the lift with two pieces of wood attached to your feet. All we had to do was sit there and take in the beautiful landscape.
We also took a guided hike along the mountain’s ridgeline, which was a great way to learn about the area’s flora, fauna, and overall history.
But our favorite fall activity was the Canopy Tour, a combined ropes-course/zipline track through the treetops. My mom didn’t even know what a zip line was before we did this, and I think she was a bit nervous when she realized it involved flying through the forest, far above the ground, attached to a just thin piece of wire! But our amazing guides Ian and Dusty made the experience an absolute blast.
But there are so many Massanutten resort activities that we couldn’t possibly fit them all in during our short stay. Some other things you can do:
- Mountain biking
- Various arts and crafts classes
- Tubing (with or without snow)
- Indoor/outdoor waterpark
- Scuba diving
- Carriage rides
- Escape rooms
- Climbing walls
- Live music events
- Field trips to Washington DC, local wineries, and Shenandoah National Park
- Snowsports: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating
Basically, there’s no way you can possibly be bored at Massanutten Resort (unless you try really, really hard!)
Massanutten Resort was the perfect setting for our fall weekend getaway. We got to do all sorts of things we enjoy doing – pedicures, hiking, eating food, zip-lining, eating more food – without having to leave the property. The need for a car and by-request-only housekeeping does make the resort better suited to independent travelers looking to get away from normal life for a bit, but that was perfect for us. If you’re looking for a Shenandoah Valley retreat, don’t overlook beautiful Massanutten.
*I was invited by Massanutten Resort to stay at the property; however, all opinions are my own.
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